Some 19 European cities have officially submitted bids to become the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) post-Brexit.
Currently the European medicines safety regulator and its 890 staff are based in offices in Canary Wharf in London, but they will relocate when the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in March 2019.
Applicants had until midnight on Monday 31 July 2017 to enter their bids, which had to consider six key criteria drawn up by the European Union.
The cities bidding to host the EMA are: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lille, Malta, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.
Delegations from a number of cities hoping to host the EMA visited its London headquarters on fact-finding trips, and some cities have produced glossy brochures and dedicated websites trumpeting their case to be the future home of the EMA.
Bidding cities had to guarantee that the relocated EMA would be able to continue its functions and be established at the date at which the UK withdraws from the EU.
The new site had to have good international flight connections and have access to schools and other educational providers for the children of EMA staff. Access to good medical services as well as employment opportunities for EMA staff and their families was also sought.
The new host also had to guarantee that it would be capable of continuing the business agenda of the EMA, according to a report detailing the bidding process drawn up by the Council of the European Union.
The Council of the EU said it was also critical that “geographical spread” in terms of the agency’s membership was also taken into account.
The European Commission will now assess the bids against the agreed criteria by September 30, allowing for political discussion based on this assessment during October 2017.
The final relocation decision is due to be taken by the general affairs council of the Council of the EU in November.